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Restriction on college forums to be dropped

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A controversial proposal to limit the number of forums that RCN members could join was made in error and will not be taken forward, the college has said.

The consultation into the professional membership structure and forums’ projects, which included proposals to reduce the number of forums from almost 80 to 42, comes to an end this week.

The college has stated that forum chairpersons ‘gave us their general support for the way we are proposing’.

However, chairpersons had raised concerns that the document stated a decision had already been taken to limit to one the number of forums members can join – members can currently sign up to three.

Stacey Hunter from the RCN forums governance group said there had been an error in the document, which should have said that all members should join at least one forum to ensure they were associated with an area of expertise.

Responses received showed that most members felt that limiting the number of forums they could join would be a retrograde step, she said.

‘We have not articulated things the way we should but it is good that we have got a good message back from membership about it,’ Ms Hunter added.

Dame June Clark, chairperson of the information in nursing forum, said going ahead would have betrayed a ‘serious misunderstanding of the reality of specialisation in nursing’.

However, Jacky Rogers, chairperson of the sexual health forum, said that the shake-up could still put some specialisms at a disadvantage.

The plans propose that the sexual health forum should be merged into the public health forum, which includes travel health, occupational health and health visiting.

‘We’re worried about what the representation will be for sexual health,’ she said. ‘Conferences may not be held in the same way because events may have to represent views of the whole new forum.’

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